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How to migrate Time Machine backups from one AirPort Time Capsule to another

Learn how to move existing Time Machine backups from one AirPort Time Capsule to another, then use the new one for regular backups.

Follow these steps to transfer backups between two AirPort Time Capsule base stations.

Connect the AirPort Time Capsule base stations

  1. Connect an Ethernet cable from your Mac to a LAN port (ethernet LAN symbol) on the source (original) AirPort Time Capsule.
  2. Connect another Ethernet cable from a LAN port on the source (original) AirPort Time Capsule to a LAN port on the target (new) AirPort Time Capsule. 

Configure your new AirPort Time Capsule

  1. Configure your new AirPort Time Capsule for your network. See the documentation that came with your AirPort Time Capsule for information about setting it up.

Stop backing up to the old AirPort Time Capsule

  1. On your Mac, open System Preferences from the Apple menu and click the Time Machine icon in the window that appears. 
  2. Slide the Time Machine switch to Off.

Transfer your backups between the two AirPort Time Capsule base stations

  1. Select the target AirPort Time Capsule from the Finder sidebar.
  2. Click the Connect As button and enter the password for the AirPort Time Capsule.
  3. Mount the target AirPort Time Capsule volume by double-clicking it.
  4. Repeat the previous two steps with the source AirPort Time Capsule, to mount it.
  5. In the Finder, drag the backup disk image from the source AirPort Time Capsule to the target AirPort Time Capsule.

    This copies your Time Machine backup files, so it may take some time to finish. If you do not see both base stations in the sidebar, choose Finder > Preferences… > Sidebar and make sure "Connected servers" & "Bonjour computers" are selected.

Start backing up to the new AirPort Time Capsule

  1. Once the copy is done, open System Preferences from the Apple menu and click the Time Machine icon in the window that appears.
  2. Click the Select Backup Disk button.
  3. Select the new AirPort Time Capsule in the sheet that appears, then click Use Disk.
  4. Make sure the Time Machine switch is set to ON.
  5. Close the System Preferences window.

Your backups now continue using the new AirPort Time Capsule.

Last Modified: Apr 25, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Apr 25, 2014
  • Article: HT5097
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